Experienced cruises with several lines previously (Princess, RCL and Disney). Our first with Holland America. Embarkation smooth and easy. Immediately sensed an enhanced level of service, especially regarding the cabin stewards and the food wait staff. We utilized the AS You Wish dining option throughout the cruise and could not have been more pleased. The maitre de, servers and wine stewards referred to us by name after the first meal and were very attentive throughout the voyage. Even if we encountered them elsewhere on the vessel they would address us by name and offer to assist us with any needs we might have. Cannot say enough about the personal service aspects of the crew, they all were outstanding. All meals were well above the standard for cruise fare. Let's face it, any cruise ship is a floating cafeteria. The quantity of meals produced each day is mind-boggling! The galley staff of the Westerdam produce extremely high-quality meals, never repeating a menu. Taste and presentation far surpassed any previous cruise ship meal that we have experienced. We would return simply for the food and food service, it was that good!
Cabin layout was very nice with ample storage and comfortable furnishments. Balconies were spacious with the requisite "wicker" chairs and ottomans. Cabin bathroom was roomy with an enclosed shower stall and separate jetted tub. Elemis amenities were fairly standard soaps, lotions and shampoos. Standard cabin toilet. Good counter space and sink within the space. Adequate lighting. Hotel towel service. Entertainment throughout the vessel was very good. Joel Mason (Elton John tribute), Leo Ward (Illusionist) and the Adagio Strings (string quartet) were favorites of ours.
Shore excursions: 1) Half Moon Cay - frequently voted the "Best Private Island" by several cruise publications and deservedly so. You can be as active as you like or do nothing at all. Never feeling crowded no matter what you do or don't do. Something for everybody. Really a special place. 2) Grand Turk - extensive hurricane damage remains throughout the island. The "Cruise Center" is up and running with shops and Margaritaville. The island will be under restoration for quite some time to "get back on it's feet". 3) Grand Cayman - shop till you drop at this stop! 4) Costa Maya, Mexico - another area completely devastated by hurricane. The "Cruise Center" is fully functional, but beyond that not much to see or do. Uvero beach "resort" is about a 40 minute bus ride from the pier.
In a nutshell, the Westerdam is a gracious newer vessel (5 years young) that is endowed with one of the finest crews afloat. It is all about service in the cruise industry and the Westerdam excels in all aspects of personal service. If you come back disappointed, it is your fault. This current crew is exemplary.